So what's wrong with these statements:
"I bought a car that will go 140. So I'm darn well going to drive 140—I certainly didn't pay for car with a top speed of 140 to drive it at 80!"
"My winter coat is rated to –30°F. So I don't see the point of wearing it unless it's at least –25° outside. Why would I pay for a winter coat that keeps you warm at –30° and then wear it when it's only +10°?
It seems to me I hear comments about photo equipment that are similar to these with increasing frequency these days.
Of course it's up to each individual how they feel, and I don't mean to criticize.
One comment I've encountered is that Micro 4/3 cameras are supposed to be small, so they can't see the point of, say, the Panasonic GH4, because it's large. I get criticized sometimes because the NEX-6 I use is small but the normal lens I use for it, the Zeiss 24mm, is too large. What's the point of having a small camera if you have to use big lenses?
Seems pretty handy to me though. I once owned a Nikon F4!
Why would you buy a Fuji 50–140mm ƒ/2.8 zoom, when it's large? Isn't mirrorless supposed to be small?
Another common one is when people think they have to shoot an ƒ/1.4 lens at ƒ/1.4...otherwise, why did they pay extra for the big maximum aperture? So they shoot at ƒ/1.4 every time—even when it's obviously not enough depth of field.
I just seem to encounter this attitude a lot, is all. "I paid for feature X, and I'm damn well going to use feature X—every single chance I get."
I don't think the basic attitude there is a very sensible one. You pay for features so they're there when you might need them, is all. And sometimes, you sacrifice certain features to get other features you need more.
That one about having to shoot a fast lens wide open every time is the one that best highlights the discrepancy for me. I spent the first half of my life avoiding large apertures, because most lenses perform at their worst wide open. And nowadays, I see lots and lots (and lots) of pictures that are taken with what I think are inappropriately wide apertures—pictures in which the photographer has reflexively tried to maximize the amount of blur, but just doesn't have everything in focus that (in my judgment) ought to be.
A large Micro 4/3 camera isn't necessarily a non sequitur...just because it's got "micro" in the name doesn't mean everything associated with it must be tiny. Maybe another camera you have can be tiny. And it's all right to have a large lens for a mirrorless camera—don't worry, maybe some of your other lenses can take advantage of the compactness of the mirrorless concept. You can own an ƒ/1.2 lens even if you don't use it at ƒ/1.2 very often. Hey, the big stop is there if and when you need it. And maybe you really will need it now and then. Just having it there for peace of mind might be enough to justify the extra cost for some owners.
Two photographers are walking in Central Park. A flying saucer lands and Elvis comes down the ramp riding a unicorn. The first photographer says, "And I don't have a camera with me! Where's that pocketable digicam you bought?" Second photographer says, "I paid for a pocketable camera, and damn it, it's staying in my pocket!"
Don't take this personally. You're entitled to use your own equipment however you like.
As I sometimes say, though, I'm just sayin'.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Patrick Perez: "In defense of a fast lens is another reason separate from ever shooting wide-open: the fact it will help the autofocus in lower light levels, even when shooting stopped-down. That is why I generally prefer a lens around ƒ/2 to ƒ/2.8, even though I don't shoot wide open very often."
Gordon Lewis: "This reminds me of a friend of mine who kept his DSLR sent to ISO 1600 because he had read somewhere that the advantage of DSLRs was that they produced better results at high ISOs."
Mark Walker [he doesn't say so, but I believe Mark works in a camera store —Ed.]: "I'm going to rant. I wholly concur. I think this has been an increasing phenomenon, as if there's some point to prove. Lots of (wanabee) 'photographers' have no idea of the way lenses perform and what different ones can do. As we have more, easier access to information the less it is rationally processed in my view. Absurd claims and falsification are a veil over the Internet that nourishes expectation and opinion.
"Facing customers who are disappointed with their latest fast lens because they think it isn't 'perfect' is a testament to the rife absurdity that manifests with increasing frequency. Our turnover of secondhand hardly used high quality lenses astonishes me. It's every aspect that 'equipment man' (mainly men I think) will pick up on. A common one is using a camera in continuous shooting mode all the time—do they drive cars on the red limit when they run to the shops—and preferably at 1/8000th?
"Don't get me started on the new Fuji telephoto: 'it's too heavy'; what? You think Fuji decided to do make it too heavy for you? Bah! It does my head in. Could we get an Internet movement going extolling the virtues, indeed necessity, of shooting at, say ƒ/5.6 ? Could a poll be taken of our favourite apertures or shutter speeds ? I think some people would seriously answer that."
BH: "I'm guilty of the wide aperture thing, and it drives me nuts. Whenever I get a new, fast lens I end up shooting it wide open for every shot for a month before I get over it. This makes just about zero sense for my style of photography, so I get approximately zero worthwhile shots during this period. Eventually I get to ƒ/4 or ƒ/5.6 and all is right in the world again."
marcin wuu (partial comment): "There's no such thing as 'too wide' when it comes to aperture. This might come from a different understanding of the term 'performance' when it comes to the lens parameters. For me, lens performance judgement is based on what I can I do with the depth of field when using said lens. Sharpness, contrast, aberrations, diffractions—it's all fluff to me. Irrelevant.
"So, I paid extra premium to get the feature set I need, and I see no discrepancy using this feature all the time—precisely because that's what I got it for. People scoff at shallow d-o-f, which I also don't get (because I love shallow depth of field obviously), but what I get very well is, people will scoff at anything."